BARANGAY Ginebra clinched the No. 3 seed in the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinals after a 86-76 win over also-ran Meralco on Wednesday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The Gin Kings improved to 7-3 (win-loss) and locked up third spot over idle squads TNT and San Miguel (7-4) regardless the result of their last match against NorthPort next Wednesday after the All-Star break.
As the third seed, Ginebra will be playing the sixth seed in the best-of-three quarterfinals, which could either be Magnolia and NLEX depending on the result of their game, also on Wednesday.
Ginebra's win also finalized the other best-of-three quarterfinal pairing pitting fourth-seed TNT and fifth-ranked San Miguel.
Meralco, which was already out of contention following the win of NorthPort over Alaska in the first game, finished the conference with a 3-8 win-loss slate.
Greg Slaughter had 18 points and nine rebounds for Ginebra, which didn't break the game open until a 12-0 run in the third quarter gave it a 51-39 spread.
“We needed [to win] one of two [games] to make sure that we move up to the third spot. It was important that we go out and get this one,” said Ginebra coach Tim Cone.
Cone, however, was not happy with how the team played in the first half, which ended with the Kings leading by just a point, 35-34.
“Just terrible in the first half. I was disappointed with how we started the game with our energy level and concentration. Our focus was just terrible … We made a big deal out of it at halftime,” said Cone.
Rookie Trevis Jackson had 18 points to lead the Bolts in scoring.
Ginebra 86 – Slaughter 18, J. Aguilar 12, Ferrer 11, Chan 11, Tenorio 8, Thompson 6, Dela Cruz 6, Mercado 5, Mariano 5, R. Aguilar 2, Caguioa 2, Caperal 0, Teodoro 0.
Meralco 76 – Jackson 18, Hodge 12, Canaleta 10, De Ocampo 7, Quinto 6, Salva 5, Tolomia 4, Jamito 4, Amer 3, Newsome 3, Pinto 2, Hugnatan 2, Faundo 0, Caram 0.
Quarters: 15-17; 35-34; 63-50; 86-76.